Back in 1999, after discussing where we go after we die, a friend of mine suggested that I read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. In a matter of days I finished. That was pretty good considering that up until that point in my life I could count the number of books I’ve read on one hand. It didn’t take long after that and I devoured everything Quinn had written. From that point on I went from a person with little or no interest in books to someone that would be content reading 4 to 5 hours a day. Quite literally the library could be my second place of residence.
One of the books I ran across on my reading journey was a book about the cordwood building method: The Sauna by Rob Roy. After reading that I knew I had to get out of debt. Since my only debt at that time was a mortgage I had taken out to build my conventional stick frame house, I knew the next step I would have to take would be to sell it. My plan than was to use the equity I had built up to pay for the land and materials for another house building venture. And cordwood seemed like the way to go. Plus, I had spent a lot of time in the woods as a logger, so I knew a little bit about the woods.
A few years later, I managed to sell the house and 20 acres. I then went with my plan of using the equity to pay for the land that I would eventually build the cordwood building on. Luckily, there was 32 acres for sale within a few miles from the house I had just sold. It was priced reasonable, so I bought it. Now it was time to experiment with cordwood.
After reading various people’s experiences with the cordwood building method, we (by this time I had met Annie) figured that a practice building would be the way to start out. Again, Rob Roy’s Sauna book was useful. The 10’ x14’8” rectilinear post and beam sauna design he illustrates and writes about seemed do-able.
And, as you can see from the pictures, approximately five years after I opened up The Sauna book, we’ve got a good start on our on-going process of building with cordwood. We plan on starting our 41ft. diameter cordwood round house next spring.
If you’re interested in connecting up with other experienced cordwood builders, I highly recommend checking out Daycreek. Everyone there has been extremely helpful to us during this process. And another invaluable resource regarding cordwood is Rob Roy’s website.
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